Brooklyn Assemblywoman Pamela Harris indicted on corruption charges

NY Lawmaker Accused of Stealing Aid Designed to Help Superstorm Sandy Victims

Pamela Harris was arrested this morning and will be arraigned later today in Brooklyn federal court.

Her lawyer, Joel Cohen, declined to comment prior to her arraignment, which was expected to occur within hours.

Court documents claim Harris lied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2012 about the level of damage Hurricane Sandy caused her Coney Island home.

In one scheme, prosecutors accused Ms. Harris, 57, of improperly receiving almost $25,000 in federal disaster funds by falsely claiming that she had been displaced from her Coney Island home by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. They said she submitted similar claims to the Federal.

Just six months before she submitted her November 13, 2013, petition for bankruptcy with her husband, according to the indictment, Harris opened a new bank account and deposited $10,000 into it that same day.

While head of a Brooklyn nonprofit between August 2015 and July 2015, Harris allegedly used $23,000 meant to rent a studio for personal use in her checking account, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Harris spent the money on household expenses, her mortgage, at stores like Victoria's Secret and on airfare and cruise tickets, according to prosecutors. The same thing occurred with $35,000 in council funds awarded in 2016. Harris again made misrepresentations about rented studio space and again diverted the funds to her personal use, according to the indictment. Authorities said her looting of government funds went on from 2012 through 2017.

Texas Sports Reporter Found 'Unharmed'
Family members told KHOU-TV that Roland texted her roommate Saturday to say a suspicious man was following her in a blue truck. They discovered her cellphone and different assets inside, cops stated, while her satchel was found at a close-by business.

"This elected official exploited the public she was elected to serve by stealing from City and federal programs and then concealing the fraud with false statements and asking witnesses to obstruct the investigation, according to the indictment".

"When she learned that law enforcement was investigating her various fraud schemes, she pressured witnesses to lie to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and cover them up", said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

Harris, 57, was charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of making false statements, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, one count of witness tampering and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of NY. Prosecutors also claimed that Harris tried to convince the Staten Island landlord and a man to lie to the grand jury about her living in that home.

She is also accused of keeping $23,000 in New York City funds that were meant for Coney Island Generation Gap, a non-profit she once led, and directing two people to lie to FBI investigators when they were interviewed in her case.

"We are just hearing of this", said Michael Whyland, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

The Harris indictment starts what looms as a year of corruption trials, starting this month with the prosecution of Joe Percoco, a former senior aide to Gov. Cuomo.

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